Mercedes: Engine power not our only shortfall

Mercedes believes that "many" deficits it has with its Formula 1 car are behind Ferrari's current performance advantage.

Mercedes: Engine power not our only shortfall

On the back of Sebastian Vettel's crucial victory in Belgium, on a track where Mercedes has traditionally been strong, Ferrari's title hopes have been reinvigorated and it heads to this weekend's Italian GP as favourite.

Although much focus after the race was on the straightline speed advantage that allowed Vettel to blast past Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap, Mercedes think there are a number of key areas where the team is behind its main opposition.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "When I look at the race I see many deficits. We are a strong team but there are deficits that are obvious and cause us not to perform as we expect."

Pushed to explain the areas where he felt Mercedes was behind, he said: "You can see the deficits. It is the slow speed, and it is the traction. And this is what I would summarise as the main weaknesses at the moment.

"Plus clearly, compared to the Ferraris and the Red Bulls and the Force Indias, [we were] the car that was cooking the tyres the most."

Power games

Wolff is clear that what he calls an "innovative" Ferrari remains ahead in the power stakes after both introduced their latest engine upgrades at the Belgian GP.

He was also eager to play down talk that a reference Lewis Hamilton made to 'trick things' was not a suggestion of Ferrari doing anything untoward.

"They [Ferrari] have a power advantage," he said. "We saw that in qualifying that their power advantage is on various parts of the straight, and you can see that even if the exits are worse than ours, their engine keeps pulling,

"That is nothing that could be a trick. It might also be related to how you run the engine, how you calibrate it. But in the same way, they derated earlier in qualifying than we did.

"So yes, we can see that they have a slight power advantage and then you add that to our weaknesses out of Turn 1 especially, and that causes the double whammy. If you aren't very good on traction and you are being outperformed slightly on power then lap one happens."

Although Mercedes can not now introduce any major engine hardware changes without taking a grid penalty, Wolff believes there is still scope within the regulations to close the power gap to Ferrari.

"It is all about understanding your power unit and calibrating, extracting all of the performance out of the software, the fuels, the oils and optimising the whole way you run the engine. That is something which doesn't involve the hardware and this is an ongoing process. So the answer is yes you can find performance.

"There is no silver bullet. We won't find any performance that is suddenly going to add three tenths to the car, or to the engine, and we disappear into the sunset."

Mercedes is planning to introduce an aerodynamic update for this weekend's race in Monza.

shares
comments
Whiting believes Alonso's tyre could have hit Leclerc
Previous article

Whiting believes Alonso's tyre could have hit Leclerc

Next article

Ricciardo set for Monza penalties with new Renault spec

Ricciardo set for Monza penalties with new Renault spec
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021